Cyber Monday 2018: Creating a Seamless InStore and Online Experience
Cyber Monday started almost by accident. In the early 2000s, US retailers started to notice a spike in online sales the Monday after Black Friday weekend - the traditional American sales event over the Thanksgiving holiday. A trend driven by holidaymakers returning to work and still hunting for a bargain, the term Cyber Monday was coined by the National Retail Federation in 2005.
In 2014, with Black Friday by now an increasingly global and digital phenomenon, online sales on Cyber Monday outstripped those on Black Friday itself for the first time. Last year, total US sales on Cyber Monday beat those on Black Friday by some 43%.
So, while Black Friday still has the profile, for retailers Cyber Monday is now equally important, if not more so. With Black Friday 2018 fast approaching on November 23rd, retailers effectively get two bites of the cherry and many are expected to hold off on their biggest online promotions until Monday the 26th to cash in on the digital sales rush.
As online sales skyrocket, can you expect Cyber Monday in your store to just be another day’s trading? Absolutely not. Savvy retailers will be closely aligning their in-store and digital channels to maximize sales and deliver the best possible service throughout the Black Friday period.
Key to achieving peak sales is the integration of eCommerce and in-store POS. With digital commerce increasingly important to retailers, most POS software suppliers now offer eCommerce platforms that sync easily with POS systems across the physical enterprise. Centralizing sales data across channels leads to better inventory management. You can cut out duplication of effort and deliver a less frustrating customer experience by ensuring that POS and Online inventories are shared across a common database.
Complete visibility on all sales data
Things move at lightning speed over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period. If things go the way you plan, stock will be flying off the shelves and out of warehouses. Ideally, you want to be able to access data on inventory, orders and shipping in as close to real time as possible - if your store has just sold the last item in one particular range, you don’t want to show it as still available online.
Whether you fulfil online orders from your store stock room or have a separate warehouse, it makes sense to use your POS terminals as the main hubs for inventory management across your operations. Products like the AURES YUNO and AURES SANGO are powerful, fast, reliable CPUs with more than enough capacity to run the most sophisticated end-to-end retail management software. Using these terminals as the hubs for your multi-channel operations not maximizes visibility and intelligence across your operations, it means you are getting extra value from your POS investment.
Service and fulfilment are a key point of difference in online retail. The faster you can ship products to customers, the more convenient you can make delivery and the more options you give consumers, the more likely they will shop with you again and recommend your business to friends and family.
Come Cyber Monday, many people don’t want to wait to receive the bargain they have just grabbed online, even until the next day. This is where click-and-collect comes into its own. Target is expanding its click-and-collect service to nearly 1,000 stores by yearend 2018. And, by 2025, it is predicted that click-and-collect will account for 10% of all retail sales.
Click-and-collect is a great way to offer choice, convenience and rapid fulfilment to your customers come Cyber Monday, but it requires complete integration of eCommerce with POS. Your store needs to know exactly what is being ordered and reserved for collection in as close to real time as possible. If you run multiple stores, you need to direct online customers not only to the nearest store, but to the one with their item in stock.
If you are expecting a high volume of click-and-collect traffic, it may be advisable to set aside a dedicated POS terminal to speed checkout lines and ensure people can pick up their orders as quickly as possible. If you don’t have any terminals spare, one option is to have mobile POS tablets on hand for this purpose.
In-store experiences and special promotions
Ultimately, Cyber Monday (and Black Friday before it) is all about promotions. Whether it is flash sales, double discounts for loyalty program members, targeted deals to your email subscribers or special offers for new customers, the whole point is to get people spending.
Ecommerce, and the amplification of online channels through social media, have driven the ability to offer more targeted and sophisticated online promotions in recent years. One emerging trend is the use of online channels to tempt customers into the store, where unique shopping experiences and superb offers await them. This again requires tight integration of online and POS.
You could, for example, offer extra discounts for in-store purchases compared to online orders, offer in-store only coupons, or hold special events in the store for loyalty program members. Just make sure that if a customer has received a voucher or special deal online, that seamless redemption is available at the POS. When CRM, eCommerce and POS systems are all integrated, you can issue digital codes that can be scanned at POS, or even send one-click push notifications to the customer’s smartphone that they can redeem as the sale is being processed.